Just kidding, just kidding, I would never forget you readers, however few you may be. : ) I've had twinges of guilt for not popping in here often enough (or really at all), but I won't make excuses. Blogging just hasn't been a priority for me lately, and that's okay. I honestly felt like when I was writing I was mostly just whining about missing the Mister, and I don't think that's much fun for you or me. So I checked out of here for a bit and mostly focused on getting through the day-to-day. And daily life has seemed so much busier this summer than it was this winter and spring. - I think that's mostly due to the fact that I'm in the middle of a major overhaul in our yard, and that's taking up most of my spare time (more on that later).
As of August 20th, the Mister had been gone for SIX MONTHS. So now we're almost to six and a half months... wowza. For a short time earlier in the summer, we thought he may be home sometime in September, and I tried not to let myself get attached to the idea unless it didn't happen. But I did get attached to the idea. And it's not going to happen. Of course when I found out I was super bummed. September is a big month for us, as it is contains both of our birthdays and our anniversary. However, if I've learned anything about the military it's that plans always change, and it's not ever gonna do you any good to be upset about those changes (this is coming from the girl who moved her wedding up a month only to find out later that her husband could have been home on the original date). So I put on my big girl panties and wrapped my head around the fact that we were only halfway through.
I am of course thankful that Chris has stayed safe and happy. And we are so lucky that we've gotten to stay in touch throughout most of this process. Although Skype isn't working at his base anymore as they have reduced internet availability, we are able to chat over Facebook Messenger pretty much every day. I know people are hating on Messenger because it apparently invades your privacy, but Mark Zuckerberg can know where I am and turn my phone on and off if it means I get to talk to my Christopher every day.
There were times this summer when days and weeks seemed like forever and, although I hate to admit it, I have been guilty of wishing the days away. But today is September 2nd. I wore my favorite white dress for the last time this year two days ago. The school buses are running in my neighborhood again. My drink of choice at Starbucks is a Pumpkin Spice Latte instead of a Caramel Frappuccino. I plugged in this pumpkin air freshener. (How cute is it? It's from Bath and Body Works and the Pumpkin Cupcake scent smells like heaven.)
Even if the official first day of fall isn't until September 23rd and the highs for this week are in the 80s and 90s, in my mind fall is here and we have made it through the summer. And the cool mornings we've had and the first few leaves falling in my yard have given me the push I need to put on a smiling face to make it through the homestretch. We're rounding third and we're gonna make it it to home base! A few more months ain't nothin' and Chris will be home before we know it.
Because I have been MIA since May, I thought I'd give you a brief synopsis of my summer. Although it didn't seem like that many exciting things happened, when I look back on it like this, I realize the past three months have been pretty eventful.
My little sister, Caroline, graduated from high school. My baby seester is all grown up!
My dad celebrated 20 years with the Burlington Fire Department. Look at him go!
Caroline and I participated in Relay for Life in Burlington to celebrate our cousin Molly kicking cancer's ass.
Lulu did some weird stuff.
My dad built Hank and Luellen this awesome dog pen (we're actually calling it a dog pavilion) with some help from my father-in-law, my brother, and my brother's girlfriend, Brittany. We needed somewhere to contain my crazy pups before we could lay sod in the yard. Later this fall when we're not watering the yard all the time, we'll stain the pen to match the fence, which will make it look even better!
I went up to Chesapeake, VA, for a much needed girls' weekend and hung out with my friend Mattie Anne's completely adorable German Shepherd, Moose.
The sunflowers and zinnias my mother-in-law helped me plant did wonderfully, but the sunflowers have come and gone now. The zinnias are still blooming like crazy, though. Last year, my zinnias stayed alive until the first frost, so I'm hoping the same will be true this year. With the help of my mom, I also planted some Vincas and Pentas in my front flowerbeds. The Vincas started out as the littlest, single-stem plants, and now they're HUGE. We also started a new bed on the side of the house with a hydrangea, butterfly bush, and a Pink Abelia.
The front flowerbeds when they were first planted:
The flowerbed beside the house when it was first planted:
The sunflowers/zinnias before they flowered:
The front flowerbeds now:
The flowerbed beside the house now:
I didn't get an official "after" shot of the whole sunflower/zinnia bed, but I do have a close up of the biggest sunflower I had (the photo doesn't do it justice - it was the size of my face). In the photo of Hank, below, you can see how tall they were in the background.
Also, please notice these bushes I trimmed all by myself. They're not perfect, but pretty good for my first time, especially considering the amount of large wolf spiders I had to avoid.
All of my flower planting and the addition of two hummingbird feeders to the yard led to several hummers hanging out here most of the time. I put one feeder on the front porch, and I find myself wasting tons of time staring at the cute little birdies flitting around and eating or drinking or whatever it is they do. I guess it's not totally wasted time watching them because it never fails to boost my mood.
For the first time in my whole life, I colored my hair! I've been into the ombre trend since celebrities first started doing it years ago, so I figured I should finally bite the bullet before it goes out of style. I was terribly nervous, but I love it - and so does Chris! Which means I have to keep it this way at least until he comes home. I'm addicted, just like everyone said I'd be, and I'm going to get more color at the end of September.
My cousin Emily had a baby, and she is peanut, and she is perfect, and I need more snuggles with her asap.
Chris has said over and over that all he wants for a post-deployment gift is to have a nice backyard where we can hang out and have friends over. In early June, I hired landscapers to come lay sod in our backyard and side yards to replace the sand and weeds we had before. Since then my life has included a lot of adjusting sprinklers, moving hoses around, and dog poop scooping, but it will all be worth it to see Chris's face when he comes home to our backyard with REAL grass. My dad is coming sometime this week to start working on the patio/pergola area, which is the last step in our backyard makeover. I'm very lucky to have a dad and father-in-law who are happy to come help out with the yard whenever they have a chance.
Lulu did some more strange things.
I mean, this is how all dogs sleep, right?
Fourth of July weekend, Caroline came to spend a couple nights with me and go to the Josh Turner concert at Fort Bragg. July 4th was a really great day complete with a gun salute provided by a battery in Chris's battalion and a phenomenal fireworks show (the best I've ever seen!). I've been to this celebration at Bragg once before with Chris, and I really enjoyed it, but it was even better than I remembered. Caroline and I decided it would be a tradition from now on with our whole family.
The last week of July, I went on vacation to Emerald Isle, NC, with my family and my brother's girlfriend. Although I was sad Chris couldn't be there with us, it was a treat because I hadn't been on a week-long vacation since our honeymoon last September.
I found this at a store I fell in love with at Emerald Isle called The Fisherman's Wife. I mean, a sweet quote AND vintage Airstream art? - I had to buy it. It now lives on our kitchen counter and makes me smile daily.
While we were at the beach, Caroline forced me to get with the times and download Instagram (you can find me at hhkdixon if you enjoy the occasional dog photo). So, of course, the first thing I did was search GSP and weimaraner hashtags, and I found this dog that looks like Luellen's head on Hank's body. It's really pretty creepy.
Lastly, in June, Miranda Lambert's new album, Platinum, came out. That may not seem like a noteworthy event for most people, but it was one of the highlights of my summer. Although this album has a different vibe than those she's released previously, I love it, and it's pretty much always in the CD player in my car.
Luckily, I wasn't working on the night of August 21st when Miranda came to Raleigh on her Platinum tour. Caroline, Brittany, and I went, and it was incredible. Although I've seen Miranda do short sets live before at CMA Music Festival in Nashville, I've never gotten to attend one of her full-length concerts. She sounded amazing, and she played so many songs I love. I have so much respect for her and her reverence toward traditional country music. She has the ability to make new music that is innovative while still true to the genre. And she encored with a Haggard song! Seriously, how much cooler can she get?
On that note, I found this tank on Etsy with some of the lyrics to my favorite song on Platinum, "Little Red Wagon." I think I'm going to have to order it as an early birthday present to myself.
Well, there ya have it... I'm sure I omitted tons, but that's the end of my abbreviated summer summary. Now, I'm welcoming fall with open arms, even if it's not officially here yet. I even switched out our white hops wreath for our pumpkin wreath today! The neighbors might think I'm crazy since it's about 95 degrees out, but I need to see those happy little pumpkins when I pull into the driveway.
I have a girls' weekend in Atlanta with two of my best friends from college to look forward to in the very near future. Thank goodness for friends who are available and happy to celebrate my anniversary with me in the absence of my husband! After that, I have mine and Chris's birthdays, another girls' weekend, and the NC State Fair on my radar. I'll try to do better about stopping in here with more than just updates about what's been going on in my life because I've been gone forever.
Thanks for reading!! Happy fall, y'all!